7 things you should do when you get home from your camping trip
Your camping trip is over.
It may have been a great trip, with good weather, delicious food and drinks, and plenty of memories. Or, you may have been miserable the entire trip.
Either way, just because the trip is now over and you are home, it doesn’t mean that you should shove everything in the garage till next time. It’s tempting but not recommended.
Hi all, I’m Dave from Outdoor Camping Disorder, your online camping store.
Here’s My 7 tips to do when the camp trip is over.
1/ During your camping adventure and especially during pack down, you’ll undoubtedly remember things you’ve forgotten, come up with ideas on how to make improvements, or discover your gear needs repairing or replacing.
Take the stress out of all of this by having a notebook handy or record it on your smart phone, so you can record all before you forget. That way you can get everything sorted before your next adventure.
This is especially important if you need to repair or replace any equipment, as sometimes spare parts can take some time to source, or new products may take a while to get used to.
Give yourself the peace of mind that when the next adventure calls, you have prepared and organised yourself better than your last trip, and you’ll be ready to hit the road again!
2/ Take a picture of your car packed up so you know how it all goes back in. Ok, not technically something you do when you get home, but it’s a great tip that has helped out in the past so thought I’d include it. This will save invaluable time and many arguments, especially useful if or when you are packing up in the rain & by torch in the dark.
3/ Sometimes, you have to pack up the campsite and your equipment is not fully dry due poor weather, or condensation. Now that you are home, it’s time to dry all that gear out.
If you have a swag, small tent – you can hang it up inside the house to dry or over the clothesline (weather permitting).
Only when it’s fully dry, will you put it all away.
Large tent/annexes – you may have to set the tent/annexe up in the yard to let it dry fully. This might mean that it could be up longer than a day, depending on the weather at home, But you want the shelters to be fully dry to stop mold and mildew forming.
Camper Trailer canvas – let it dry out fully just like a tent.
Any other gear that was damp – dry it out in the house or garage.
Sleeping bags can hold moisture from your sweat during the night. It’s advisable to let them air as well inside the home (if you didn’t get an opportunity at the campsite in the morning).
4/ Clean your gear and I don’t mean laundry.
I mean the cleaning of your gear. Let’s get specific…..
Look at the shelter you used (it may be obvious it needs a clean if it was wet and you are currently drying it somewhere).
- Did a bird crap on it? Is there mud/dirt inside it? especially under the floor, whether its PVC OR Canvas. This isn’t very exciting to do, but when you next go in that shelter for your camping trip, you don’t want to open your shelter and find dirt inside and out of it. It’s going to make gear inside the shelter dirty before the trip has really begun, or worse, have a unwanted guest crushed in side your shelter.
- Your food boxes and utensil boxes may also have suffered a little on the trip in terms of dirt. Heavy winds can get dust into these boxes even though you are pretty sure the lids were on tight. Check them out, and give them a quick clean.
- If you were doing fast wash ups (with minimal hot water and poor lighting) of your crockery and plates when camping, it may be a good idea to do a proper wash up when you get home. That means getting everything you used to eat on, out of the camping boxes and into the sink/dishwasher. Your future camper self will thank you for making this effort.
- Any other gear you have taken – before you put it away, see if it needs attention. Sleeping bags, BBQs, lighting, stoves. All of this needs a quick once over to see if it’s clean and ready for use the next trip.
- Esky/Fridge – however you kept your food cool, empty it entirely and clean out the fridge, with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Follow any manufacturer instructions to ensure it is maintained properly.
You may be lucky, and find it all clean and ready to store, but I doubt it.
5/ Restock items (sooner rather than later), this is why you keep a notebook/smart phone on hand.
When you run out of something at the campsite, such as washing detergent, toilet paper and you say to yourself “I must refill this when I get home”. But with all the other stuff going on, you just put your boxes away, and don’t check. Come next camping trip, you are missing something that is a staple of your camping trip.
I suggest you have a check list of your mandatory items that you take (this will vary, but may be food items, firelighters, washing up gear, kitchen items like cling wrap or garbage bags etc), and make sure that you have enough packed for the next trip, before you put the boxes away.
Put it on your shopping list and buy it the next time you are out then place them straight into the camping boxes (not in your kitchen cupboard), so you are guaranteed it will be there when you go on your next camping trip.
Gas bottles should also be looked at to see if they are needing a refill or need replacement.
6/ Fix anything that didn’t work or broke on the trip.
Stuck zippers? Broken pole? Faulty appliance? Canvas got a rip?
Fix it whilst you remember, before you put the gear away, especially before you head out on your next trip. You don’t want to spend valuable time running around the place trying to get a spare part or shops that aren’t open on those public holidays.
If you have been towing a camper trailer or caravan – attend to any mechanical repairs as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your vehicle, or having an accident that could have been preventable.
7/ Store your gear properly
If everything is clean and dry, how you treat your gear when not in use is going to be pretty important to how long it will last.
Treat gear carefully (and kindly) and your camping gear will have a long life.
If you have down filled bags, you need to allow them to loft when not in use. That means not rolled up in a small stuff sack that you used for transport. Most down bags come with a bag to allow them to be stored, unrolled, or use a garbage bag.
This does take up space, but will keep your down filled sleeping bag in far better condition this way.
Synthetic bags are also meant to be stored this way, but due to space requirements we can’t do this – but it is recommended to help prevent damaging the fill. If you have the ability to hang your bag in a cupboard, then this is an option you can try.
Like the sleeping bags, a sleeping mat is meant to be stored unrolled and flat, with air valves open, in a cool dark place.
This is the ideal way BUT, it’s really hard to do. It’s going to depend on your space at home. Under the bed is a good place for them or standing up at the back of a large wardrobe. Don’t let your pets near them.
Wipe them down with a damp cloth to also get off any dirt before it becomes too ingrained.
Most tents will be placed back in the bag they came with. Depending on the size of the tent, there is not a lot of options.
Small backpacking tents can be stored in mesh bags/large cotton bags, out of sunlight.
The most important thing about any tent is storing it dry (see tip 3 above).
Battery Operated Equipment
If you won’t be using your equipment for any long period of time, remove the batteries from the equipment (flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, GPS). You don’t need to throw the batteries away – store them in a plastic bag next to the equipment. That way if the batteries leak, they won’t be leaking inside your gear.
Your gear is all clean (thanks to you doing tip 4 – see above) and there are no crumbs or grime on your gear.
Store all gear in your clean camping boxes and make sure lids are on tight, so no bugs or rodents can get in.
Fridges when turned off (and after they have been cleaned thoroughly) may get a musty smell.
To prevent this whilst you are storing, you can prop the fridge open a little to help get some air in it. This will reduce that smell. The same applies to your esky.
Taking care of your gear after the trip is going to help make the next trip so much easier. It might not sound like it, but it all will help make your next camping holiday a little easier knowing that your gear is ready to go.
Now, Put your feet up. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have spent most of your camping trip enviously checking out everyone else’s set ups. So, after all the exertion of unpacking, have a sit down, put the kettle on or have a cold beer and research your next getaway. You deserve it!
I hope these tips & ideas helps you. I’ll see you next time for more tips and ideas.
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